Home » Judicial » Govt to Descend On CDF Looters

Legislators who looted Constituency Development Funds during the Seventh Parliament are not off the hook as Government will soon start confiscating properties they bought using the money. In cases where no property is linked to CDF yet the legislator abused the money, personal property would be attached.

Government has identified 20 extreme cases where National Assembly members abused funds allocated to them by Treasury to develop their constituencies, with some buying personal assets such as motor vehicles and motor bikes.

However, Government was not at liberty to disclose the names of the legislators whose property could be confiscated.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mrs Virginia Mabhiza, yesterday told The Herald that Government would recover all properties bought by the lawmakers using State funds.

She said Government would soon descend on the lawmakers once the Ministry had enough resources to undertake the exercise.

“We are still pursuing that matter where we want to recover assets that came through the CDF because they belong to Government,” Mrs Mabhiza said.

“Our efforts are being hampered by the lack of resources as we need money to go out into the constituencies to verify some information and take the properties.

“We need vehicles and fuel for the auditors to move around but because of the lack of resources, the looters should not think that they are off the hook.”

Each legislator received $50 000 to develop their constituencies during the Seventh Parliament.

Other legislators bought grinding mills and furniture that did not benefit their communities, while some have to date, failed to produce audited accounts.

About four legislators were arrested on allegations of abusing the CDF, but their prosecution was stopped after the then Attorney General Mr Johannes Tomana, raised concern that there was no proper legal framework to successfully prosecute them.

Government, Mrs Mabhiza said was drafting a CDF Bill that would give a legal framework on how legislators should use the funds.

The Bill, which is on the legislative agenda set out by President Mugabe during the official opening of the First Session of the Eighth Parliament last year, would enable Government to nail legislators who abused the CDF.

During the audits that were carried out by Government, some legislators were disguising donor-funded projects in their constituencies as theirs in a desperate bid to cover up the abuse of the CDF.

In some instances, the MPs were sending auditors on “wild goose chases”.

Four MPs, Albert Mhlanga (MDC-T Pumula), Marvellous Khumalo (MDC-T St Mary’s), Cleopas Machacha (MDC-T Kariba) and Franco Ndambakuwa (Zanu-PF) Magunje), were in 2012 arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission and appeared in court facing charges of abusing the CDF.

They were charged with corruption over the abuse of the fund.

Charges against Ndambakuwa and Mhlanga were withdrawn before plea and the State will proceed by way of summons when the dockets are ready.

Cases against Machacha and Khumalo were still pending.

No CDF will be disbursed before there is a law to govern the use of the fund.

Source : The Herald